08 Feb 2011
Reduced debt and better cost structures add up to sustainable growth in 2011, says the German optics giant.
“We are reporting growth and improved cost structures for 2010,” he said. “We believe that we are ideally equipped for the future. We have created the right conditions both for organic growth as well as for acquisitions. Jenoptik stands on solid ground.”
Once finalized, group sales in 2010 look set to come in at around €510 million, which compares favorably with the €473.6 million posted for fiscal 2009. The group earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) exceeded €55 million, which will give a final operating result in the region of €32 million, an increase from €7.8 million posted in the previous year. Order intake for 2010 will exceed €580 million, up nearly 35% on the 2009 figure of €432.8 million. As a result, Jenoptik has started its new fiscal year with an order backlog of approximately €355 million.
“Our strategic realignment, combined with efficiency and cost reduction measures, is having an impact,” commented Mertin. “The improved economic climate, in particular in the second half of the year, gave an additional boost.”
Mertin went on to say that business performance in many areas was better than had been anticipated at the beginning of 2010. For example, strong growth came from the semiconductor industry, with the automotive industry also recovering faster than expected.
One point worth noting in fiscal 2010 was the sale of Jena-Optronik GmbH to EADS Astrium in December, which reduced the group’s net debt to below €100 million – a milestone, given that net debt for the group was €160 million at the end of 2009. Mertin told investors that the incoming funds will be put to a variety of uses including investments to increase capacity for optics, diode lasers and energy systems. He also hinted that Jenoptik’s international presence, especially in North America and Asia, will be expanded.
For fiscal 2011, the group expects to make up for the loss of revenues from Jena-Optronik GmbH, and has set its sights on sales of at least €510 million. (When Jena-Optronik’s contribution to the overall 2010 performance is deducted, sales come in at around €478 million.)
“We expect the growth to come in particular from our Lasers & Optical Systems and Metrology segments,” said Mertin. “The group EBIT is expected to rise at least 20%. The goal is to achieve sustainable profitability.”
Looking at the performance of the Lasers & Optical Systems and Metrology segments throughout fiscal 2010, Mertin’s confidence is hardly misplaced. In Lasers & Optical Systems, continued strong demand for precision optics for semiconductor applications led to a significant rise in sales and earnings. This segment is expected to post sales of €185 million for 2010, up from the €166.7 million reported in 2009. Growth in demand was also seen in lasers and laser processing systems for the automotive industry. However, the demand for laser processing systems for manufacturing thin-film solar cells was said to be below expectations in 2010.
The Metrology segment will also report a growth in sales to more than €110 million, up from €96 million in 2009. The Industrial Metrology sub-division saw a recovery in the automotive industry and posted a small increase in sales. According to Mertin, after generating comprehensive cost savings in 2009, this division is now showing a small positive EBIT, in particular as a result of a very good fourth quarter, compared with multi-million euro losses in the previous year.
In his concluding remarks, Mertin was optimistic that the overall positive trend would be maintained in 2011. “In 2011 we will continue our strategy of sustainable growth,” he said. “Jenoptik has made a positive start to the new fiscal year with a good order backlog. This gives us grounds for optimism, despite the fact that the volatility of the financial markets is continuing.”
About the Author
Jacqueline Hewett is a freelance science and technology journalist based in Bristol, UK.